Sunday, December 7, 2008

Puffer Fish - Fugu - Japnese Sex Food

Puffer Fish, or Fugu, is a term describing several related species of fish that are consumed in Japan and Korea. Puffer fish contains a powerful poison, and people die every year from consuming fugu. Yet people persist in eating the fish, and even pay hundreds of dollars per plate. Why part with good Yen and risk death for a food? According to enthusiasts, a non-lethal dose of puffer fish toxin serves as a power stimulant and aphrodisiac.
The trick in preparing fugu is to remove just enough of the organs that contain the nerve toxin tetrodotoxin. When a non-lethal dose is consumed, it causes tingling in the lips, fingers, and toes, and other, uh, extremities. It is also a nerve poison that increases stiffness of the, um, muscles. After a time (or with a larger dose), the toxin can cause numbness and anaesthesia.
Japanese restaurants must be licensed to serve fugu, and the fugu chefs undergo a rigourous training and examination process before they can prepare this food. Fugu is now sold in some Japanese supermarkets, where it must be accompanied by a certificate from the licensed preparer. A small serving may be bought for as little as $20 in the supermarkets, while a fugu meal in a restaurant typically costs $100 or more.
Some fugu today is raised on farms, and this tends not to be very poisonous, if it is poisonous at all. Tetrodotoxin is not produced by the fish itself, but by particular bacteria that live in the fish. In an artificial environment with a controlled diet, those bacteria are less active.
Tetrodotoxin is approximately 10 times more toxic than cyanide on a milligram for milligram basis, and a single fish may contain enough toxin to kill 20 or 30 adults. Tetrodotoxin affects the sodium ion pumps in muscle and nerve cells, switching them into an on position until the poison is metabolized or excreted. Because it does not pass into the brain, this compound causes a body buzz with no direct change to conciousness. There is no antidote, only a wait and see approach supplemented by pumping the stomach or administering activated charcoal to bind up with mechanical breathing support until recovery may occur. Tetrodotoxin victims are fully conscious up until the point where they may pass out from oxygen deprivation (or extreme pain due to muscle contractions).

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